Thursday, February 18, 2010

School Board Boundary Policy

I attended the School Board meeting this week and spoke about the boundary changes. Then I went next door to hear a wonderful presentation on bullying at the Special Education Advisory Committee. When the presentation was complete, I went back to hear the discussion on the boundary policy.

It seems to me that this topic is becoming extremely difficult and time consuming, but I for one don't think it's better - just different.

So, I came home and wrote my own policy. And I'm posting it here. This is a link to board docs and the policy that is under consideration.

FYI - Blue text is my two cents!

§2-32 School Attendance Zones: Policy and Process

A. Authority

The Loudoun County Public Schools is vested with the authority to “provide for the consolidation of schools or redistricting of school boundaries or adopt pupil assignment plans whenever such procedure will contribute to the efficiency or the school division.” [Code of Virginia: Section §22.1-79 (4)]

B. Definitions

Permanent Attendance Zones – LCPS does not provide permanent attendance zones.

Stable Attendance Zones – The School Board strives to provide stable attendance zones for all of the students of LCPS. Stable attendance zones are those that are deemed unlikely to require revision for 5 years.

Temporary Attendance Zones – It may be necessary for the School Board to engage in attendance zone changes that are deemed temporary. This is likely due to the health, safety and instructional needs of students during a period of expanding attendance.

Cluster/Feeder System – LCPS utilizes the feeder system to promote cohesive operational clusters in which students remain with their educational cohorts and staff coordinate and communicate within the cluster. Generally, several elementary schools feed into one middle school, and the middle school feeds directly to the high school. Clusters are identified by the high school in the feed.

Split Feed – Any school that sends students, upon completion of the highest grade level, to more than one cluster or any school that receives students from more than one cluster is considered to have a split feed. All split feed attendance zones are considered to be temporary attendance zones.

Staggered Enrollment/Phasing – The School Board may decide to stagger an attendance zone change through the phasing of incoming classes.

C. Reasons for Considering Attendance Zone Adjustments

The School Board may change an attendance zone in order to maintain or improve operating efficiency and/or in order to maximize instructional effectiveness. In general, adjustments may relieve facility crowding, better utilize existing space, avoid underutilized facilities, mitigate the impact to schools created by demographic imbalances, and better allocate program resources, and/or reduce operating costs.

D. Attendance Zone Change Process

At least annually, the Superintendent will recommend to the School Board options for the transformation of all temporary attendance zones to stable attendance zones. In addition, the Superintendent will evaluate whether or not additional attendance zone changes are to be considered. Typically, the evaluation will take place within the context of the Capital Improvements Program process, but changes may also be recommended at any time to address safety, overcrowding or other concerns. Attendance zone changes may also be initiated at the direction of the School Board. When conditions exist for school attendance zone changes, the Superintendent will recommend to the School Board that options for change be developed. These options will identify schools potentially affected by the attendance zone changes, the means by which the public will be involved in the attendance zone change process and a calendar for the attendance zone change process. The School Board will seek to encourage public participation throughout this process and will hold at least one public hearing prior to the adoption of any attendance zone change recommendation. The School Board will act on the Superintendent’s recommendation, but may modify that recommendation. Finally, if an attendance zone is deemed to be a temporary attendance zone the time frame of the change and the means to transformation to a stable attendance zone will be determined at the time of the change.

E. Factors Considered in Attendance Zone Changes

When changing school attendance zones, the School Board and the Superintendent will consider, but not be limited to, the following criteria whenever possible (alphabetical order):

Demographic characteristics of the student population

Equitable distribution of programs and resources

Minimize future capital and operational budget costs

Minimize long-term use of mobile or modular classrooms

School capacities, new facilities and/or renovations to existing school facilities

School location


Student enrollment projections


The School Board may will consider each of these factors in making an attendance zone change. In the exercise of its authority, the School Board recognizes that it may not be reasonably practicable to reconcile each and every factor in any attendance zone change, but any attendance zone plan adopted by the School Board should be based on the above factors to the greatest extent possible.